Live near a church? You might be liable for it | Hudson McKenzie

Live near a church? You might be liable for it

January 3, 2019 | Latest Thinking, News, Taxation

‘Chancel Repair Liability’ is a legal obligation for property owners in some areas of the UK – so what exactly is it?

If a person owns a property that is situated upon land that once was a clergy house, i.e. a house that belonged to a member of the church, then the owner will be automatically required to provide funds for any repairs that might be required to a local church.

Following from this, property buyers are expected to take initial checks regarding whether their local parishes holds a ‘Chancel Repair Liability’ or not, and if so, may find it necessary to take out ‘Chancel Liability Insurance’.

At present, under the guidance of the Law Commission, ‘Chancel Repair Liability’ is undergoing a three-year assessment of reform, so that it may become easier and more streamlined for property buyers to identify exactly where the liability is applied and the process that is required of those who purchase property under this liability.

The most recent case to come from someone having to pay for their local church repairs can be seen in Warwickshire, in which a couple were forced to sell their farmhouse due to having to pay a £230,000.00 repair bill for a St. John the Baptist Church nearby, under the Ancient Law.

However, how relevant is an ancient medieval law like this still applicable to the common law today?

For instance, although the UK is not specifically secular, most would state that they live their daily lives under the impression that they live within a secular state, especially as multi-culturalism rises with the ongoing development of multiculturalism.

At present, as the law still stands, most property buyers are being encouraged to seek professional assistance from solicitors so to conduct a ‘Chancel Liability Search’ before purchasing any property in the UK.

If you would like to discuss this article further or have any general legal enquiries, please contact one of our highly qualified solicitors on 020 3318 5794 or via email at